Carley Graham Garcia has been appointed executive director of Montclair State University’s Feliciano Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, effective Sept. 3.
Garcia, a former senior executive at Google, replaces the retiring Dennis Bone, who was the founding director.
Garcia spent the last 12 years at Google, most recently as head of external affairs, responsible for public policy, government relations and community engagement for the New York City region, including New Jersey.
Greg Cant, dean of the Feliciano School of Business, said the school is confident Garcia’s leadership will usher the center into a “critical second phase,” one that looks more externally to connect and serve the broader Montclair community, while preparing students for future workforce demands.
Cant said Garcia’s experience at Google, building community relationships, brings valuable business connections as the Feliciano Center works to expand its network of partners.
“This is really an exciting chapter,” Cant said. “She’s going to really help imagine and create what we’re going to do as we prepare people for the skill sets that will be essential for the careers of the future.”
Bone, who ran the center for six years, feels it has found the perfect successor.
“I’m thrilled to be passing the baton to Carley,” he said. “She has the perfect mix of innovative and entrepreneurial skills to take the center into its next stage. She will do amazing things.”
Garcia said the Feliciano Center’s second phase will put more focus on resilience, whether as an individual, a business, an industry or community.
“You can only learn if you can build, then pivot and change,” she said. “We want to teach students the skills not only to survive, but to thrive in a constantly changing business landscape.”
Launched in January 2013 as part of the Feliciano School of Business, the center seeks to provide students with tools to turn creative sparks and innovative ideas into successful ventures. It offers a concentration in entrepreneurship, a minor in entrepreneurship, a certificate of entrepreneurship and a certificate in innovation design.
The Feliciano Center facilitates the 5,200-member Montclair Entrepreneurs Meetup group, and created Women Entrepreneurship Week, a global movement celebrated in 2018 at universities in 32 countries and 46 states.
Montclair officials said Garcia first became involved with the Feliciano Center in 2018, visiting the MIX Lab innovation center, meeting with leaders and students, and presenting at the Women Entrepreneurship Week Conference.
Garcia said the new role marries her passion for business, policy and the community, offering her an opportunity to help develop connections with employers and cultivate workforce skills to drive economic growth across the region.
“I will also be razor-focused on increasing investment in Montclair State University, the Center for Entrepreneurship and our programming like Women Entrepreneurship Week, which has been modeled all over the globe,” Garcia said.
Garcia also plans to expand events, attracting business leaders that reflect the community.
“This should be a place where students can see themselves, and where they can feel inspired and empowered to create,” she said.
Prior to joining Google in 2007, Garcia was the director of advertising sales at National Journal Group in Washington, D.C. She has also held positions at The Atlantic, National Journal and the Advisory Board Co.
Garcia earned a B.A. from Georgetown University, an MBA from the Stern School of Business at New York University and is currently on leave from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, where she is pursuing a Mid-Career Master’s in Public Administration.
She lives in Montclair with her husband, son and daughter.